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A zealous and fresh approach to the New Year always seems to be at the top of “must-do” lists for most people in January.
Escape and invigorate at 7,000 feet altitude in Flagstaff, Arizona. From the Great Pinecone Drop countdown to snow play in Arizona’s official Winter Wonderland or a hike to get started on those resolutions, Flagstaff has the weather, the attractions, and many activities to say farewell to 2020 and welcome 2021. Get started with 10 ways of winter play to start your New Year Flagstaff-style:
THIS YEAR THE GREAT PINECONE DROP IS SHOWN VIRTUAL ONLY. GATHERING ON THE STREETS IS PROHIBITED. THANK YOU!
Twenty-two years ago, the Great Pinecone Drop became Flagstaff’s New Year’s Eve tradition in 1999, when the Weatherford Hotel rang in the new millennium and honored the Hotel’s 100-year anniversary. Since then, thousands have gathered in the streets for the countdown into the New Year and the lowering of the Pinecone followed by a brief fireworks display. This year, the tradition has nuanced and will occur VIRTUALLY-ONLY as revelers carry-out and settle-in for the Great Pinecone Drop at pineconedrop.com.
Not able to have a white Christmas? Then come for a white New Year’s Day and start the year on the slopes with a day of snowplay or skiing in Flagstaff. For the most up-to-date information on conditions at Flagstaff area winter recreation sites call the snowplay information hotline at 1-844-256-SNOW and find directions and alternate routes to the sites on the free Winter Recreation Map, which also can be found at the Flagstaff Visitor Center.
Get started on those New Year’s fitness resolutions and take your first hike of the New Year at one of the Flagstaff Area National Monuments. The Island Trail at Walnut Canyon National Monument offers a strenuous one-mile hike with more than 200 stairs descending 185 vertical feet into the canyon, or for a more leisurely option, try the one mile award-winning breweries at Sunset Crater National Monument.
Enjoy Flagstaff at 7,000’ with eight award-winning breweries and a beer tasting adventure to discover locally-brewed craft beer and delicious food in Arizona’s Leading Craft Beer City. Flagstaff breweries have received national recognition from the World Beer Championships and the Great American Beer Festival. Visit craftbeerflg.com to download a free Flagstaff Brewery Trail Passport and start your journey. Cheers!
Get adventurous with New Year’s Eve lodging and slumber in a yurt at the Arizona Nordic Village. This requires preparation and necessitates packing things from home including a sleeping bag. For those looking for more traditional hotel accommodations, Flagstaff offers more than 5,000 hotel rooms for any style or budget.
If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, then be sure to start the New Year with a hearty breakfast in Flagstaff at a local favorite including: Martanne’s Burrito Palace, Tourist Home All Day Café, Macy’s European Coffeehouse, Brandy’s Restaurant, Mike and Ronda’s The Place or Northern Pines Restaurant.
Check it off your bucket list with a Grand Canyon sunrise and sunset to create a memory at Grand Canyon National Park, which is only 80 miles from Flagstaff. The Grand Canyon is often described as Earth’s greatest geological showcase, the breathtaking ensemble of colorful rock layers, impressive buttes and shadowed side canyons sets the Grand Canyon apart.
Go stargazing in Flagstaff’s spectacular dark skies at Lowell Observatory for heavenly inspiration. Visit the instrument that helped Clyde Tombaugh discover Pluto, and peer through telescopes set up daily and nightly. Tour the observatory and experience the universe through multimedia shows, interactive exhibits and live presentations.
Grab your skis or snowboard and hit the slopes on New Year’s Day at the Arizona Snowbowl! Enjoy world-class skiing at the top of Arizona. Arizona Snowbowl offers lessons and rental packages for individuals, kids and families for all levels. The Grand Canyon Express, Arizona’s first high-speed six person chairlift whisks riders up a 1,500 foot vertical in less than six minutes. The name of the lift is a nod to the fact that Arizona Snowbowl is the only ski area in the United States where riders can see the Grand Canyon in the distance from the chairlift. The addition of a new slopeside restaurant doubled the dining capacity at the base area with 300 indoor seats, complete with a patio and a fire pit which is perfect for après ski. There is also a “beach area,” complete with Adirondack chairs and fire pits adjacent to Hart Prairie Lodge to take a break from skiing, have a drink, and take in the views.
In Flagstaff, you can still cruise Route 66 and look back in time at iconic buildings some still with their neon signs. There are several of the historic hotels still lining Route 66 in Flagstaff and the world famous Museum Club that turned from a Route 66 roadhouse and taxidermy shop into a country western nightclub where you can go to line dance and hear live music. Now there is even more to explore with the NEW Walk This Talk Route 66 Self-Guided Tour experience. The first stop on the audio tour begins just outside the entry doors on the north side of the Flagstaff Visitor Center and provides an overview of the tour and its path through Southside which terminates at the intersection of Mikes Pike and Milton Road. The program is introduced by Hollywood actor and Flagstaff’s own, Ted Danson, with the actual tour stops voiced by local writer, Rose Houk. To begin the tour call the toll free number 928-218-2926 for a walk down memory lane.